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Dirty Pretty Things
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Dirty Pretty Things (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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Dirty Pretty Things -- From Stephen Frears, the Oscar-nominated director of The Grifters (Best Director, 1990) and Dangerous Liaisons, Dirty Pretty Things stars Audrey Tautou (Amelie) in a harrowing tale of struggle and survival for two immigrants who learn that everything is for sale in London's secret underworld!
Dirty Pretty Things -- Trailer
Dirty Pretty Things -- An illegal Nigerian immigrant discovers the unpalatable side of London life.


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Up 19% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Steven Knight (written by)
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Release Date:
5 September 2003 (USA) See more »
Some things are too dangerous to keep secret. See more »
An illegal Nigerian immigrant discovers the unpalatable side of London life. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 19 wins & 22 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An unflinching look at society's expendables... See more (201 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Chiwetel Ejiofor ... Okwe

Audrey Tautou ... Senay Gelik

Sergi López ... Sneaky / Juan

Sophie Okonedo ... Juliette

Benedict Wong ... Guo Yi

Zlatko Buric ... Ivan
Kriss Dosanjh ... Asian Businessman
Israel Oyelumade ... Mini Cab Driver (as Israel Aduramo)
Yemi Goodman Ajibade ... Mini Cab Driver (as Ade-Yemi Ajibade)
Nizwar Karanj ... Mini Cab Driver

Deobia Oparei ... Mini Cab Driver

Jeffery Kissoon ... Cab Controller
Kenan Hudaverdi ... Cafe Owner
Damon Younger ... Punter

Paul Bhattacharjee ... Mohammed
Darrell D'Silva ... Immigration Officer
Sotigui Kouyaté ... Shinti
Abi Gouhad ... Shinti's Son
Jeillo Edwards ... Hospital Cleaning Lady
Rita Hamill ... Pharmacy Nurse
Ron Stenner ... Pharmacist
Jemanesh Solomon ... Shinti's Daughter-in-Law
Naomi Simpson ... Shinti's Grandaughter

Barber Ali ... Sweatshop Foreman
Jean-Philippe Écoffey ... Jean-Luc

Josef Altin ... Sweatshop Boy (as Yusuf Altin)
Fisun Burgess ... Factory Worker
Sabina Michael ... German Woman
Michael Mellinger ... German Man
Noma Dumezweni ... Celia

Adrian Scarborough ... The Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ray Donn ... Factory Worker (uncredited)
Mike Savva ... Airport Commuter (uncredited)

Directed by
Stephen Frears 
Writing credits
Steven Knight (written by)

Produced by
Mark Cartier .... development executive
Julie Goldstein .... executive producer
Robert Jones .... producer
Teresa Moneo .... executive producer
Allon Reich .... executive producer
Tracey Scoffield .... executive producer
Tracey Seaward .... producer
Paul Smith .... executive producer
David M. Thompson .... executive producer
Margo Myers .... line producer: additional photography (uncredited)
Original Music by
Nathan Larson 
Cinematography by
Chris Menges 
Film Editing by
Mick Audsley 
Casting by
Leo Davis 
Production Design by
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski 
Art Direction by
Rebecca Holmes 
Set Decoration by
Linda Wilson 
Costume Design by
Odile Dicks-Mireaux 
Makeup Department
Annabel Hill .... makeup artist
Natasha Nischol .... makeup artist
Jenny Shircore .... hair designer
Jenny Shircore .... makeup designer
Matthew Smith .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Tania Blunden .... post-production supervisor (as Tania Windsor Blunden)
Brian Donovan .... production manager: additional photography
Linda Gregory .... production manager
Michael Harm .... unit manager
Joseph Jayawardena .... unit manager
Margo Myers .... unit production manager: additional photography New York City
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mick Audsley .... second unit director
William Booker .... second assistant director
Ben Dixon .... third assistant director: second unit
Simon Downes .... second assistant director: second unit
Mark Layton .... first assistant director: second unit
Sasha Mann .... second assistant director: second unit
Finn McGrath .... second assistant director: second unit
Martin O'Malley .... first assistant director: second unit
Jez Oakley .... third assistant director: second unit
Stuart Renfrew .... first assistant director
Alex Streeter .... third assistant director
Richard Styles .... first assistant director: second unit
Becky Symons .... third assistant director: second unit (as Becky Simmons)
Holly Watson .... third assistant director: second unit
Ben Dixon .... additional third assistant director (uncredited)
Larry Zience .... second assistant director: second unit (uncredited)
Art Department
Jane Clark .... storyboard artist
Emma Davis .... lead art department assistant
Martin Duffy .... stand-by carpenter
Stuart Headley-Read .... stand-by props (as Stuart Read)
David Ned Kelly .... supervising carpenter
Verena Khan .... assistant art director (as Verena Kahn)
Campbell Mitchell .... props
Tom Pleydell-Pearce .... property master
Gareth Thomas .... FT2 apprentice
Sound Department
Mark Auguste .... supervising sound editor
Sam Auguste .... assistant sound editor
Jan Cholawo .... foley editor
Colin Cooper .... adr recordist
Colette D. Dahanne .... foley recordist (as Colette Dahanne)
Nathan Duncan .... sound assistant trainee
Steve Finn .... boom operator
Peter Gleaves .... adr mixer
Matthew Gough .... additional sound re-recording mixer
Alex Hudd .... sound consultant: dolby
Peter Joly .... supervising sound editor
Christian Joyce .... sound recordist
Christian Joyce .... sound: second unit
Peter Lindsay .... sound recordist
Mike Prestwood Smith .... sound re-recording mixer
Adrian Rhodes .... sound re-recording mixer
Mark Rose .... sound effects editor
Sven Taits .... additional sound re-recording mixer
Ian Wilson .... foley editor
Special Effects by
Dan Frye .... special effects technician
Christopher Longhurst .... special effects assistant
Graham Longhurst .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
Ian Fellows .... digital compositor
Drew Jones .... visual effects executive producer
Tracey Leadbetter .... visual effects coordinator: Framestore CFC
Luke Letkey .... digital artist
Alasdair MacCuish .... digital lab producer: Framestore CFC
Mark Nelmes .... visual effects supervisor
Tom Partridge .... visual effects editorial: Framestore CFC
Maria Stroka .... film recording producer
Victor Wade .... digital effects artist
Neil Weatherley .... digital effects artist
Nick Gillard .... stunt coordinator
Julian Spencer .... stunt coordinator: second unit
Camera and Electrical Department
Ian Clark .... focus puller
Charlie England .... assistant camera
Dai Evans .... trainee grip (as Dave Evans)
Conor Finlay .... electrician
Eugene Grobler .... electrician
Saiyiu. Li .... camera loader
Adrian McCarthy .... grip
Chris Menges .... camera operator
Oona Menges .... first assistant camera
Pat Miller .... electrician
Gary Parnham .... rigging electrician
Christopher Porter .... gaffer
Alastair Rae .... Steadicam operator
Laurie Sparham .... still photographer
Ivan Strasburg .... director of photography: second unit
Alf Tramontin .... Steadicam operator
David Wall .... electrician
John Ellis Evans .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Urszula Pontikos .... camera trainee (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Philip Goldsworthy .... wardrobe assistant
Kay Manasseh .... assistant costume designer
Lucilla Simbari .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Emanuele Giraldo .... second assistant editor
Celia Haining .... assistant editor
Dan Roberts .... first assistant editor
John Stanborough .... color timer
Music Department
Karen Elliott .... music supervisor
Charlie Gillett .... music consultant
Christian Henson .... composer: additional music
Michael Higham .... music editor (as Mike Higham)
Steve Price .... music scoring mixer
Andy Richards .... score mixer
Bruce White .... viola
Transportation Department
Simon Hudnott .... unit driver
Gerry Turner .... genny driver
Other crew
Julie Brinkman .... assistant: Steven Knight
Jana Camacho .... production assistant
Rashad Clinton .... production assistant
James Cooper .... runner
Christel Franken .... assistant to producer
Alexander Hodgson .... runner
Scott Jacobson .... floor runner
Miranda Marks .... assistant production coordinator
Jake Myers .... production executive
Rosie Newall .... runner
Hermione Ninnim .... production coordinator
Louise O'Malley .... production accountant
Eve Petcher .... production runner
Roger Phillips .... end titles
Sue Quinn .... location manager
Asha Radwan .... producer's assistant: post-production
Claire Robertson .... assistant accountant
Nick Savva .... production finance coordinator
Ussal Smithers .... advisor: Turkish
Diane Staniforth .... art finisher
Aurelia Thomas .... location assistant
Mimi Turner .... location manager
Alex Warder .... assistant production coordinator
Dan Huber .... assistant: Julie Goldstein (uncredited)
Luke Morris .... thanks
Margo Myers .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for sexual content, disturbing images and language
97 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

When Senay goes to an abandoned place to seek for a new job, a poster of controversial Turkish director Yilmaz Güney, is on the wall.See more »
Continuity: When Okwe and Senay are drinking wine, Senay lifts a full glass. In the next shot, the glass is 3/4 full.See more »
[first lines]
Okwe:Do you want a car? Ten pounds, Theatreland. Car? London? You want a taxi? Buckingham Palace.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) (TV)See more »


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119 out of 132 people found the following review useful.
An unflinching look at society's expendables..., 2 August 2003
Author: (ilpintl)

`Dirty Pretty Things', Stephen Frears' latest film played last year in Europe, but the North American opportunity to see it only came yesterday. Much buzz, fortunately all merited, preceded it: an amazing Nigerian actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, already acclaimed for his stage performances, makes his big-screen debut, while Audrey Tatou, the impossibly wide-eyed kook from 2001's `Amelie', tackles her first English-language movie role.

Frears' film details the story of those faceless, nameless human beings of a variety of ethnicities, who, for a multitude of reasons--all marked by desperation--sneak into England. Then, until they wangle a way of getting a British passport, they lead the hunted, humiliating lives of the illegal immigrant. The Nigerian Okwe is one such person: a pathologist in his home country, he is reduced to driving cabs by day and moonlighting as the sole front-desk worker in a London hotel by night. During the day, he grabs a couple of hours of sleep on the couch of a Turkish co-worker, a hotel maid named Senay, played by Audrey Tatou. As in most hotels in these straitened times, the night staff deals with the usual sordid emergencies that arise when the nocturnal creatures of the city are on the prowl. Prostitution and drugs are routine phenomena, but when he finds a human heart clogging a toilet in one of the rooms, Okwe realizes that something far more sinister is afoot.

For the illegal immigrants portrayed in the film, it is an ongoing struggle to hold onto some semblance of integrity, humanity, and dignity, as the Society around them exploits and hounds them mercilessly, safe in the knowledge that nothing would be reported to the authorities. Each character makes more compromises and greater sacrifices, all for freedom, which as the tagline of the film sums up, comes at a price. Senay is a hair's breadth away from getting her residency papers, when she runs afoul of the law and has to go on the lam to avoid deportation. Okwe, the cause of her problems, feels duty-bound to see that she remains safe. But by persisting in his efforts to unravel the mystery of the heart in the toilet, he becomes increasingly exposed to those who would harm him and Senay.

Interestingly, though this film is set in London, none of the main characters is English: there's Juliette, an ironically-named feisty West Indian hooker who plies her trade in the hotel; Ivan, the Russian doorman; Senor Juan or `Sneaky', another hotel employee who makes use of the hotel for his own money-making schemes; Gou Yi, a Chinese night porter in a morgue; a motley collection of Somali, Nigerian, and Kenyan men who work at the cab company, and the South Asian owner of a sweatshop. Even the Immigration inspectors who make the dreaded surprise checks for illegal aliens are of color, but they have been elevated into a privileged stratum of society by their passports. These people alternately help each other and prey on each other for another person's frailty is always a source of profit; while a person with knowledge of one's past is someone to be feared. The London we see through their eyes is unrecognizable--squalid, begrimed, crowded, sleazy, perilous--not at all the gleaming promised land of immigrant fantasies.

Part anthropological documentary, part thriller, and part tentative, unlikely love story, this film keeps one riveted throughout. The unfortunates in the film live by their wits and survive by hanging on to their senses of humor. But as one degrading or dehumanizing experience piles itself atop another, you see them question the worth of the Holy Grail that is the British passport. However as there is no going back, they are forced to continue. Every now and then, they find it in themselves to hit back, making you want to applaud their diffident, costly bravery.

The film belongs to the lead pair. Ejiofor, with his expressive dark eyes and handsome face, registers every affront to his humanity; he inhabits the character of Okwe completely and takes us along on the bleak, dangerous journey that Okwe is forced into. Likewise, Tatou breaks our hearts as she is exploited time and again; she is an actress of such luminous transparency and vulnerability that one empathizes with every tribulation of Senay's. This is a far more dramatically demanding role than `Amelie' and Tatou is up to its challenges. Sergi Lopez, who's star-making turn in the French film `With A Friend like Harry' did not go unnoticed in North America, has created a charming whisky-guzzling monster in Senor Juan. Juan is the ultimate amoral opportunist, a Brylcreemed, Mercedes-driving vulture, and Lopez does not shy away from showing himself at his worst. Benedict Wong and Sophie Okonedo are first-rate, too, as the philosophical chess-playing morgue-worker buddy of Okwe and Juliette the rebellious prostitute respectively.

`Dirty Pretty Things', brilliantly written by Steve Knight, maintains its unpredictability right up to its surprise ending. Stephen Frears--no stranger to the seamy side of human nature (`My Beautiful Launderette', `Dangerous Liaisons', `The Grifters' being cases in point)--has crafted the film with delicacy and intelligence. A lesser director might have turned it into a sentimental morass, but Frears, with an unerring sense for a good story, abstains from making his characters too noble, too courageous, or too upstanding, rendering them altogether human and memorable.

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